Greenpeace Applauds Cisco, Ericsson, Wags Finger At Dell, Oracle

Greenpeace on Tuesday updated its Cool IT Leaderboard in conjunction with the climate negotiations in Cancun occurring this week at the COP16 conference. Cisco retained its top spot at the greenest IT company, earning 70 out of 100 points from the ecology watchdog organization. Oracle was a new entry on the list and came in dead last, with a mere 12 points.

Ericsson landed a distant second to Cisco, at 57 points, with Fujitsu snagging third at 52 points. Dell earned 39 points, which would be a definite F grade if Greenpeace was a college professor. And yet, compared to the whole 17 companies on the leaderboard, Dell's score was in the top-third (a C+ if the professor graded on the curve). Dell's scores improved over Version 3 of the leaderboard, too. We point this out because of all the IT companies on the list, Dell has been specifically targeted by Greenpeace with its "Tell Dell to phase out the use of toxic chemicals campaign."

Greenpeace has been urging environmentalists to e-mail Michael Dell and tell him that it's not ok that he waffle on his commitment to eliminate toxic chemicals from products. "Dell was penalized in the latest Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics for backtracking on its commitments to eliminate toxic PVC plastic and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) from its products, despite the fact that many of its competitors have already done so."

The leaderboard represents Greenpeace's opinion on how well important tech companies are doing toward leading the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent as of 2020. It combs through each company's public Web site, and uses other tidbits it knows, to score them on three criteria:

  • Technologies they develop that help others reduce greenhouse gas.
  • Internal initiatives to reduce their own emissions and energy impact.
  • Political advocacy and support for climate and energy policies. (For instance, companies earned points for showing up to the COP16 conference).

Cisco, Ericsson and Fujitsu scored highest because they did well in at least two areas. Google scored highest for political advocacy. "The company’s work to stop Prop 23, an oil-sponsored California ballot initiative, from bulldozing the state’s landmark global warming legislation, sets the bar for advocacy in this scoring round," Greenpeace's Jodie Van Horn said in a blog post.

IBM scored highest for energy impact and did well for its Smart Planet technologies. But the company's lack of political presence and its failure to come up with a stated goal for reducing its emissions hurt it.

IBM, Intel and Microsoft, and many of the Japanese brands, were also dinged for failing to break with, or chastise, any business associations they belong to that have terrible eco-policies.

Click for larger version of the Greenpeace Cool IT Leaderboard.

Nothing beat the abysmal score Oracle achieved on its first year on the list. Beyond a few weak case studies published on the Web, Greenpeace couldn't find any evidence that Oracle was paying attention to clean tech at all. Indian outsourcer Wipro, frequently named as one of the more reviled global IT companies, scored higher than Oracle. It hit 38 points for its first appearance on the leaderboard.

"The gap between leaders and laggards has widened in this round, as many companies are still failing to incorporate the carbon-reducing potential of IT products and services into core business decisions and development, or into their lobbying efforts," Horn concludes.